besides Recuva, what can I use to recover files off an old Hard Drive?

Okay, so I had a broken laptop, I took the hard drive out, bought a USB adapter, plugged it into another computer....

When I click on the drive ( E: ), it says I need to format, but doing so would erase all the data, which is exactly what i'm trying not to do!

I downloaded "Recuva" and searched the drive ( E: ), but it only was able to locate files that have been deleted (stuff I deleted from recycle bin & "temporary internet files" that were deleted)..

I need to recover files and folders that I had on the desktop, not stuff I deleted.. does anyone know how to do this?? Recuva won't let me search specific file locations, it only searches for deleted files..... Is there a free program I can download to recover my desktop files??
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More about recuva recover files hard drive
  1. As I know, Recuva has offered two kinds of drive scan options. The first one can scan your drive in seconds, but the result is not so satisfying. But, the second one can scan your drive deeply and also take much more time. But, the result is much better. Have you tried the second scan, the “Enable Deep Scan” option?
    If you have tried, perhaps, you could try another drive recovery freeware that can deeply and carefully scan your drive and do its utmost to restore your lost data. To know more information of this recovery freeware here:
  2. Was the issue with the laptop the hard-drive? Why was it broken? If it's not the drive, do you know what file system was on the drive? What did you plug the drive into? A MAC formatted drive would tell you it needed to be formatted. So would a bad drive or one that lost it's partition info.

    You can try running Testdisk on it to see if there are lost partitions that can be recovered.
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